Fri | Dec 1, 2023

Chuck pushes restorative justice solution for school fights

Published:Friday | May 26, 2023 | 12:27 AM

Minister of Justice Delroy Chuck is pushing restorative justice (RJ) as a way of resolving conflicts among students before they descend to fights.

The minister said he has seen videos of students involved in violent conflicts, and their peers seem to be more interested in recording these incidents for social media postings rather than encouraging a peaceful resolution.

“It is best to resolve the conflict before it gets to the situation where a fight breaks out. So, we encourage students, instead of taking videos of the fights to show on social media, encourage the combatants to stop it,” the minister urged.

He was delivering the keynote address at a Child Diversion Youth Forum held recently at the Hotel Four Seasons in St Andrew.

Minister Chuck noted that once a fight starts, it is unpredictable where it will end, particularly if a weapon is brought into play.

“You never know when you will use it (the weapon) in rage, and you might live to regret the outcome. We have too many violent disagreements, and RJ can be the solution instead of abusive threats and violence,” Minister Chuck stressed.

Restorative Justice is an alternative justice method that brings together all the parties with a stake in a particular offence to resolve the conflict and deal with the aftermath of the offence.

It seeks to repair the harm caused by the offence, help reintegrate the offender into the community, and aims to achieve a sense of healing for both the victim and the community.

The justice ministry has partnered with the Ministry of Education and Youth to use RJ practices in the school system to help children work out their differences in a peaceful way.

Minister of Education Fayval Williams said over the coming school year, there will be increased focus on restorative justice. “We have seen that it works and that is why we are willing to put resources into doing it and to expose students and their parents to the programme,” she noted.